Rep. Drenner Introduces Legislation to Protect EMC Customers

ATLANTA — State Representative Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) today announced the introduction of House Bill 500, legislation to increase the amount of oversight the Public Service Commission (PSC) has over Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs). Specifically, HB 500 would require the PSC to review any EMC contract for the purchase of power that runs longer than five years.

“Georgia’s current statute already requires Public Service Commission review of EMC financing,” said Rep. Drenner, “Extending this authority to power purchase agreements just makes sense.”

HB 500 was made necessary by a high-risk, no-bid contract entered into by eleven EMCs. Led by Cobb EMC, the largest cooperative in Georgia, customers at 10 EMCs paid higher electric bills after the companies entered into no-bid agreements to join Power4Georgians. Six EMCs left the consortium after the former CEO of Cobb EMC, Dwight Brown, was indicted on felony charges.

“EMC member-customers lost money and paid unnecessarily high rates in order to fund Power4Georgians,” said Rep. Drenner. “We cannot change what has already happened, but my hope is that PSC oversight would prevent EMC customers from having to pay for similarly questionable agreements in the future.”

Georgia’s 41 EMCs provide power to approximately half of Georgia’s 9.4 million residents, with Georgia Power Company serving the other half.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has considerable oversight of Georgia Power Company, which allows it to review all rates, charges, and service rules. The PSC, however, lacks similar authority for broad oversight of the state’s EMCs, despite the comparable size of their customer base to that of Georgia Power.

Rep. Drenner is joined by Representatives Carol Fullerton (D-Albany), Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur), and Ernest Smith (D-Augusta) in introducing HB 500.

For more information on HB 500, please click here.

Representative Karla Drenner represents the citizens of District 85, which includes portions of DeKalb County. She was elected into the House of Representatives in 2000, and currently serves on the Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications, Health & Human Services, Natural Resources & Environment, Rules, and Small Business Development committees.